[TIMARU, NEW ZEALAND] In a real life case of “fiction becoming reality,” a vegan New Zealand couple find themselves aground on a uninhabited island faced with the age-old, vegan question, “if you were stranded on a deserted island, would you eat meat?” George and Margaret Taylor, of Timaru, New Zealand, were coastal sailing along the Antipodes Island chain when the mast on their 42-foot Beneteau Sense 43 became detached, leaving the couple adrift in the Pacific Ocean.
“The complications occurred while tacking,” Mr. Taylor commenting during a phone interview. “Maggie was in the galley cooking up ‘er vegetable hangi when the mast let loose. I was like “bugulugs!” this can’t be good. The next thing I knew we was adrift.”
The Antipodes Islands are notorious for sweeping up ships that have lost steerage and have claimed the lives of many stranded explorers. The Taylors found themselves awash the shore along the eastern edge of the largest of the six desolate islands with very little left of their own food supply. “We had some veggies and fruit, ya’ know, ‘vegan’ food,” said Mrs. Taylor. “but, with our boat all puckarooed, we knew we wouldn’t survive very long.”
The Taylors fashioned a small lean-to on the lee side of the island and watched for any passing boats or planes to spot the massive sails they laid along the beach. Days became weeks and the couple found themselves in the old-story “vegan” situation of having to forage for their food, specifically protein, on a deserted island — not to mention finding fresh water, which omnivores forget to mention when they pose this ridiculous scenario. While there was plenty of plant-life on the archipelago to sustain the wild goats, small rodents, fowl, and fish the couple struggled with the concept of having to indulge in animal flesh to survive.
“We would stare at each other for long hours as we dined on limitless vegetation, wondering who might make the first move — us, or the goats,” Mr. Taylor added from his seaside home in Timaru. “Our omnivore friends for years annoyed us with the quandry if we would eat meat to survive on a deserted island and there we were … asking ourselves the very same question. Luckily, by rationing our own food and water supply, along with the island’s vegetation, we were able to stay alive for 16-days until the New Zealand Island Authority (NZIA) rescued us. I don’t know if we would have made it one more day. I actually thought twice about throwing a lobster on the barbie. If only we’d brought butter.”
Mrs. Taylor added, “As far as the question goes, I guess we’ll never know the answer.”
Thousands of sailors, some as recently as 1999, have died on these remote islands and the NZIA speculate the majority of them must have been vegan.